Senator Schumer raises millions of dollars from wealthy financial industry people in New York in part on the idea that he can help defend them and their industry when they and it are under attack in Washington. Yesterday's vote on the Buffett Rule was in some ways a case in point; the bill failed to get the votes needed to move forward under the Senate's rules, so anyone whose taxes would have been raised because of it can breathe a sigh of relief. Mr. Schumer, however, voted for the Buffett Rule, explaining helpfully, "It could be called the Buffett Rule, it could be called the Romney Rule." So the tax rules should be rewritten every four years to target personally the Republican Party's presidential nominee? Mr. Schumer himself has at least some of his money in tax-exempt municipal bonds, which reportedly would not be subject to the Buffett Rule.
The Albany Times-Union reports:
Sen. Charles Schumer assured critics of the Buffett Rule that "we don't begrudge wealth in this country, in fact, it is part of the American dream to apply yourself and become successful." However, he argued that the "middle class can no longer bear the burden of reducing our deficits alone," and that there needs to be "shared sacrifice."
First of all, the middle class isn't bearing the burden of reducing the deficits, because the deficits haven't been decreasing, they've been increasing; the 2011 deficit was $1.299 trillion, and the 2010 deficit was $1.293 trillion. Second of all, the middle class has hardly been doing whatever deficit reduction it has been doing "alone," as Senator Schumer claims. In fact, in 2007 "the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history."